Clinton County Board of Education, with an early on packed house, held a busy and somewhat lengthy regular meeting Monday evening at the Central Office with all members present. Among items on the agenda were presentations, recognition of students and an address from a parent pertaining to a discipline issue.
Near the end of the meeting, Superintendent Charlotte Bernard addressed an issue that is at the forefront of students, parents and staff this year, the number of days missed thus far due to inclement weather conditions, and just when the current school year might end.
Bernard, in her monthly report, noted only that she hadn’t recommended an amendment to the school calendar at this time, citing it was too early and there is still a threat of more winter weather that could cause even more missed school days. She said she would have an amended plan to present at next month’s meeting.
So far, 11 school days have been missed, but the district has found ways to cut four days from that total, for a total of seven days to date to be added to the calendar, putting the end of classes during the third week of May–barring no further missed days.
After approving the agenda for the meeting, the board recognized two middle school students–James Cecil and Derrick Dyer–for recently having their artwork published in a statewide publication after winning an art competition.
CCMS Principal Teresa Scott said the winning artwork could be found on the school district’s web page and would also be displayed later on.
The board then recognized several CCHS students who have passed the COMPASS in the first semester in either Reading, English or Math.
Later in the meeting, CCHS Principal Sheldon Harlan gave a report to the board regarding Data and Intervention and that discussion included a presentation from math instructor Michael Whittenburg about the success of the Mathematics College and Career Readiness courses at the high school.
Whittenburg, who was assisted in the presentation by math teacher Tammy Denney, praised the entire math department, among others at CCHS including Denney, Gina Poore and now retired teacher Jim DeForest, now with Somerset Community College, for the work in the program at the high school. He noted 61 percent of students had passed the test, which helps prepare them for college, during the first semester.
Those students recognized for passing the COMPASS with scores that meet or exceed the Kentucky Readiness Benchmark were:
* Math: Baylee Baker, Cecily Beaty, Whitney Bookout, Kayhlie Carpenter, Parker Means, Brittany Mishler, Chesney Polston, Jessica Key, Nicole Ferguson, Sarah Glover, Patricia Brown, Virginia Hammond, Torey Sparks, Heather Stephens, Gaberial Stalcup, Courtney Bowlin, Rebecca Smith, Jamiee Mansfield, Daniel Mills, Candice Cross, Emerald Avery, Darien Wallace, Curtis Irwin, Derek Lower, Miranda Angel and Matthew Wood.
* Reading: Donovan Burchett, Kayhlie Carpenter, Noah Cummings, Travis Gilbert, Sarah Glover, Levi Jones, Savannah Marcum, Dakota Melton, Chesney Polston, Torey Sparks and Heather Stephens.
* English: Candice Cross, Sarah Glover, Chesney Polston and Taylor Polston.
The board then approved the following items in one motion: previous minutes; leave of absence without pay for Teresa Tarter from February 1 through June 30, 2014; medical leave for Janet Beck from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015; subsequent disbursements; payment of claims and bills.
Following a brief monthly financial report by Finance Director Mike Reeves, the monthly personnel report was given, as follows: Certified retired: Lynn Starnes, Foothills Academy; Substitute teachers: Sarah Patrick, district-wide and Sharon McFall, ECC/CCMS; Classified resignation: Russell Baker, assistant baseball coach at CCMS; and, Certified resignation, Michial Conner, assistant baseball coach at the high school.
The board then voted unanimously to approve the revised District Nutrition and Physical Activity Report Card for the 2013-14 school year as recommended by Food Service Director Georgia Rigney.
Rigney then explained a new online program that will allow parents to pay lunch bills online through Infinite Campus/Parent Portal site.
Parents will be able to pay, with just a $3 convenience fee, lunch expenses up front with e-check and some types of credit cards if they choose to use the online payment system. Also, by the start of the next school year, it is hoped the system will allow parents to pay other expenses, such as books, locker fees, sports related fees, online at one time, thus having to be charged the convenience fee only once.
The board voted 6-0 to allow parents to pay (on a volunteer basis) lunch bills online through the Infinite Campus/Parent Portal site.
The board then approved the annual staffing policy, unchanged from last year, which calls for a student teacher ratio of 24 students per teacher at the Early Childhood, Albany Elementary and middle schools and 26-1 at the high school, with kindergarten instructional assistants being one per 24 students.
The board then approved the assurances specific to Family and Resource and Youth Services Center and voted to enter into an agreement with the Red Cross for the use of school facilities as an emergency shelter in the event of a disaster.
Director of Pupil Personnel Julie McFall then presented the tentative 2014-15 school calendar for consideration, as recommended by Superintendent Charlotte Bernard.
The calendar is similar to the current and past years, but this year does not include “early release days” which had originally been included in the 2013-14 year calendar. Those days, set aside to release students a half-day early one day per month, were ended when used to make up days missed this year due to inclement weather.
The calendar, instead, has four full professional days prior to the start of school for teachers.
It was noted that teachers across the district were polled and apparently preferred the four full professional days in lieu of the early release days.
The theories behind “early release” days was to allow parents a day to set aside to make necessary doctors’ appointments and so forth in advance and also help with increasing overall school attendance.
Although there is no early release days built into the proposed calendar, some noted that there was at least one day every month, not counting the usual holiday periods and other days off, in which there were no classes thus still giving parents time to plan ahead.
One person in the audience also questioned about holding school on Veteran’s Day in November.
Board members and others noted that even though school was held, there was always a program for veterans put on at CCHS honoring veterans, and noted having students in school and seeing the program may actually help bring awareness to them of the meaning and importance of Veterans’ Day.
Also, each school usually has some type of program to honor veterans and field trips taken by classes to veterans’ locations such as monuments and cemeteries are counted as school days for students.
The tentative calender for 2014-15 would see the first day for students being August 11 and the last day being May 19.
Following some discussion, the board gave approval to the proposed upcoming year’s calendar.
York also gave the monthly attendance report for the sixth month. Although the month will not be completed until Friday, February 14, the rate of attendance through last week at each school was: Early Childhood Center, 92.81 with a year to date rate of 93.95; Albany Elementary was 94.77 with a YTD rate of 95.14; CCMS was 93.69 with a YTD average of 94.59 and CCHS was at 92.13 for the month, with a year to date average of 92.23 percentage.
During the public comment period, a parent addressed the board about a disciplinary issue involving his son, a student at CCHS, pertaining to an egg throwing incident.
The parent noted his son had been given a three-day after school activity suspension for his part in “egging” a Cumberland County school bus and he (the parent) learned the next day the student had been suspended for three days, and had further been threatened to be charged with vandalism.
The parent told the board he himself believed in discipline and had grounded his son for a week following the incident and agreed with the three-day suspension. However, he apparently did take issue with the threat of his son being charged with vandalism, indicating that would be going to far.
He further said he had statements from about 25 students, present and past, and parents of incidents of actual criminal acts committed by students at the high school that he could bring out in public.
The board did not specifically address the parent on the issue and no official action of any kind was taken.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for March 10 at 5 p.m. at the Central Office board room and is open to the general public.